PITTSBURGH (May 3, 2019) — Recognizing his role in
developing undergraduate programs, innovative teaching and leadership in his
field, Sam Dickerson, PhD, assistant professor of electrical and computer
engineering, has won the 2019 Board of Visitors Award.
“Dr. Dickerson is the epitome of a faculty member devoted to
diversity for the benefits of all students, staff, and faculty, demonstrating
leadership in student recruitment, student retention, community engagement, and
student mentoring,” says Roberta A. Luxbacher, chair of the Board of Visitors. “He has had a tremendous impact on the mission
of the department and the school. The Board of Visitors is proud of
accomplishments such as his, which are extremely important if the School is to
continue to be recognized as a national force in engineering education and
Dr. Dickerson serves as director of the undergraduate Computer Engineering
program in addition to his teaching.
He joined the Swanson School as assistant professor in 2015 after completing
his PhD, MS and BS degrees in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) at
Examples of Dr. Dickerson’s dedication to the success of all
students are abundant in the department. Dr. Dickerson pushed for examination
space in ECE for students with disabilities and special needs and is the faculty
founder of “Chat and Chew,” a diversity program in ECE meant to engage and support
URM students. He also served as faculty lead in funding female ECE students to
attend the annual Grace Hopper Conference; led an NSF project to create and
study new teaching methods for broad demographic groups; and led the Hands-on-Science
activity for Swanson’s Investing NOW Pre-College Program. Dr. Dickerson also
advises the nearly 300 undergraduate students in Computer Engineering, one of
the School’s largest programs.
In addition to his leadership and mentoring roles, Dr.
Dickerson is nationally recognized as an innovative and passionate educator. He
has received NSF funding to implement new techniques in teaching electronics
and has modernized the Senior Design Project course in a way that challenges
students and pushes them out of their comfort zones. Dr. Dickerson received the
Educator Award this year in recognition of this work.
“Dr. Dickerson is consistently ranked by students as one of
the best teachers in the School, and his commitment to the teaching profession
is a model for every faculty member demonstrating great passion and commitment
to teaching,” says Alan George, PhD, chair of the Electrical and Computer
Engineering department. “When he was asked
to assume the leadership role as director of our undergraduate program in
computer engineering in 2017, his response was amazing and refreshing, replying
that he would be happy to serve in this role but regretful that it would mean a
reduction by one in his teaching load each year.”
The Board of Visitors Award includes a $5,000 grant to
support the recipient’s scholarly activities. It was presented at the Board of
Visitors Dinner on May 2, 2019.
Maggie Pavlick, 5/3/2019
Contact: Maggie Pavlick